"This is my first position in marketing, and I am the only one in my department, so it’s ALL on me to generate leads."
Sound familiar? If so, you're not alone. That quote is from Jessica Potter-Adkins, Director of Marketing & Communications for a national distributor of insurance products. Jessica and I met earlier this year at the ConversionXL Conference, where we discussed the challenges she was facing as a newly minted marketing director, and the benefits of live chat, a technology she had been eyeing for some time.
As Jessica explained to me, her company's objective is to help insurance agents get information on the newest products available. Traditionally the company relied on email marketing campaigns that directed to product landing pages. But as leads plateaued, Jessica started thinking about other ways to engage with insurance agents.
"Opt-in forms are generic and, frankly, a bit overused," she said. "Sometimes insurance agents just want to ask questions about the product rather than complete a form. So I saw live chat as an alternate route they could use to find information they want to know, and in turn we don't miss out on capturing their contact information."
Here's how she worked Olark live chat into her lead gen flow.
Decrease inbound support requests
Jessica started by laying out specific goals for her live chat solution: decrease inbound calls for tech/support, particularly customers requesting password resets increase conversions of live chatters, i.e. get them to contract or have them express interest in a specific product capture leads outside of business hours gather feedback on the usability of web content and site design collect customer input to inform chat operators
After a few weeks of using chat, Jessica saw her first goal should be top priority: 92 percent of incoming chats were about recovery of password/username. So she worked as her own designer to make the password recovery process easier, reducing the number of tech support chats by 10 percent.
With password questions on the decline, Jessica could focus more on getting leads to convert.
Every nationally specific email campaign goes out to approximately 300,000 insurance agents, resulting in a significant traffic spike. As traffic spikes, live chat offers two benefits for increasing conversions.
First, Jessica can get immediate feedback from the insurance agents who click to her landing pages. Based on that feedback she can gauge whether her pages are working or not - whether something is broken or confusing - and make adjustments to avoid losing signups.
Second, Jessica manually records the name of every agent that initiates a chat, where they went within the company’s site, the nature of their question, and the department that needs to address the customer chatting. A Regional Sales Director (RSD) at the field marketing organization then follows up with the chatters they're assigned to and gauges their interest a particular product or becoming a customer. The RSD reports the customer interaction back to Jessica who then cross references the data against their contracting data to determine how far along in the pipeline a lead is.
Jessica estimates that system has resulted in about 40 news sales (or new contracted insurance agents), about one new sale every other day. Best of all - around 12% of these leads have come outside of business hours, and require nothing more than Jessica forwarding an email to the appropriate RSD.
Gather qualitative feedback on site content
Perhaps most important from a marketing standpoint is using chat's qualitative feedback to improve content efficacy.
As many live chat customers do, Jessica started on a free plan, but made the decision to upgrade so she could personalize conversations and obtain better data.
"With the upgrade, I've been able to grab information like which pages are getting the most traffic, the average number of users per minute, the pages insurance agents chat from, the amount of time they stay on each page, and what questions they asked," she says. "Are people staying long enough on my landing pages to “sell” them on working with us? Are they visiting because of the brand name recognition or just for the product itself? From that data, I can make a better decision on, yes—this is working, or no—my landing pages suck. Either way, at least now I know and I can get a better plan together."
With this data in hand, Jessica says she has also slowly started A/B testing her landing pages. With specific changes, the conversion rate has gone up by 5.3 percentage points.
Improve the customer experience
While conversions have gone up, Jessica cautions not to forget about the user experience. After all, she says, customer retention is just as important as leads.
"If people can’t use what you are giving them—why bother? For instance, we didn't realize there was a problem with the registration programming, which was a huge usability issue. Through chat we're fixing problems that were previously unknown, and I'm now able to uncover problem areas based on recording data from the chatters, fix those problems, and keep our customers happy."